Musicians have the Grammies and actors have the Oscars. For beauty products, earning a spot in InStyle’s coveted beauty awards is the industry pinnacle. With over 100 winners in 2016, these contenders are carefully chosen and vetted by the industry’s top experts—dermatologists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and manicurists. With a process that takes over six months, we begin sending out super detailed (and long!) surveys in October and then tally up the results. As our beauty closet begins to fill up, we interview our pros to find out why they really love these products and why they deserve some real estate in your makeup bag. Finding the perfect blush shade is no easy feat. It takes quite a few swatches to find a color that's not too sheer and not too bright, but just right. Consider a few swirls of the following three industry panel-approved, winning formulas a guaranteed perfect flush.
1. Best Powder Blush
While the brand's cheeky shade names are enough to make you blush (Deep Throat, Orgasm, Sex Appeal—we kid you not), these legendary powders pack serious pigments. "Most blushes tend to look ashy or sheer on dark skin, but with Nars, you can find one that lights up pale, medium, and dark complexions," says celebrity makeup artist Johny Saade. "Exhibit A is beautiful, I use this on all my clients," says makeup artist Ashleigh Louer. Their vivid, trendsetting colors also pass the grown-up-glitter test: They're not too flat and not too flashy.
And not only are the colors on trend but the formula is what sets these powders apart. "They create such a natural flush on the skin," says N.Y.C. makeup arist Gita Bass who works with Elizabeth Olsen and Selena Gomez. The finish is also versatile, "you can get a sheer wash of color or build them up for insane intensity," says makeup artist Fabiola.
Nars | $30
2. Besst Cream Blush
No clown cheeks here. Makeup artists, like L.A. pro Elaine Offers, coax a healthy, sheer flush with this velvety cream. "It's been in my kit for my entire career," she says. Offers likes to dot on the formula with a stippling brush to bring dewiness and life to her clients' faces (perhaps after a late night at the Chateau Marmont). Her pro tip? "Use it on the cheeks and then take the leftover product and apply a dab on the forehead, it just makes you look really alive."
Classic hues such as Peony, Petunia, and Poppy are vibrant, versatile favorites, she says. We also like using them on our lips for a monochromatic finish. And if you're looking to make that flush last into the wee hours? Layer it over a powder blush as Offers does, "the combinator of a cream and powder allows it to last for hours," says she.
Stila Convertible Color.
Stila | $25
3. Best Eco-Friendly Blush
Think pink looks a bit "baby doll" on your skin? Makeup artists call this mineral-based powder a foolproof pick for those who want a diffused glow with just a touch of sheen. "The powders are fine milled so they go on really nicely and give a glow to the skin," says pro Allan Avendano who works with Sarah Hyland and Chrissy Teigen. Six shades offer everything from a soft peach to a vibrant pink, Hyacinth, which Avendano says he uses on clients with both fair and dark skin.
Pro Daniel Chinchilla loves that the mineral formula jibes well even with sensitive skin types, "this is especially great for anyone who breaks out easily," says Chinchilla. But take note, "they are super pigmented so it doesn’t take a lot to see color payoff," says makeup artist Tamah Krinsky. She suggestes tapping out out your brush before application. And the addition of antioxidants A,C, E don't hurt either, #multitasking.
Becca Mineral Blush.
Becca | $32